Microvascular ischemic changes and headaches may correlate with small vessel ischemic disease, according to NetWellness. Small vessel, or microvascular, ischemic disease occurs when tiny blood vessels of the brain become obstructed due to clot or rupture. Surrounding brain tissue dies from the subsequent lack of blood flow.
Microvascular ischemic disease is most common in people who have diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension, explains New Health Adviser. Blood vessel narrowing can also cause microvascular ischemic disease, while smoking and aging are other contributing factors. Patients are often unaware that they have microvascular ischemic disease, although side effects include personality changes, depression, impaired movement, reduced motor functionality, loss of balance and declining visual field. Magnetic resonance imaging is a reliable method of diagnosing microvascular ischemic disease, as obstructions within the brain appear as bright white spots. If the underlying cause of microvascular ischemic diseases remains untreated and the condition progresses, the patient may experience increased risk of stroke, dementia and other neurological issues.
The damage caused by microvascular ischemic disease is permanent, explains New Health Adviser. Minor cases of microvascular ischemic disease are not likely to affect the patient's quality of life significantly, especially if no underlying conditions exist. Physical therapy can be helpful for patients who have impaired movement and reduced motor skills. Stricter blood sugar control and better management of hypertension and cholesterol also benefit the patient.